Where to begin? Boho Stitch Along: Week 1

I posted a picture on Instagram yesterday and received so many messages along the lines of things I’ve heard many times before, both on IG and at the workshops that I teach, basically: “I love what you do and would love to try this but I wouldn’t even know where to begin!”

So, to help those nervous, embroidery-loving enthusiasts among you, I decided I would take this hoop and show you my start to finish process. Warning: it’s probably going to be rambly and messy (welcome to the inside workings of my brain)!!! But that’s art, right?! At least it is for me and most likely will be for you too.

This is not going to be a quick finish. You’ve heard of Slow Stitching, right? This is that! If you followed along with the Boho Stitch Along last year, you’ll know that embroidering a large piece of fabric takes time. So, grab a piece of fabric that you love and have been wanting to embroider and just put it in a hoop (like I did) and go through this process with me!

I’ll share my work here weekly, along with tips and some fun ideas for adding extra bits to your project.

P.S. I hear there is an amazing embroidery book written by yours truly that can help you learn how to embroider! And if you have that one, I hear there is an equally awesome second embroidery book coming very soon, you know, if you’re interested!


Let’s get started!

First off, you will want to choose your fabric. Pick something that you like…you will be spending lots of time looking at every detail of the fabric!

I have chosen this gorgeous design by Kathy Doughty for Free Spirit Fabrics: Magpie Horizon. I love birds, feathers and this color palette, which made this an easy choice of fabric.

My cut of fabric is a fat quarter (which is a quarter yard of fabric, but cut in a square), so I began with unfolding it to decide what section of the fabric I wanted to include in my hoop. The Magpies fit perfectly into a 12″ hoop and so that was an easy decision.

Next step: threads! I have a lot of thread, so I chose 5 colors to get started. I’m not limited to only using those colors…I can add colors any time that I want, but this is a non-intimidating start to a project. Pick 5 colors that coordinate with your fabric.

These are all spools of Perle Cotton thread from Sue Spargo.

At this point, once my fabric is in the hoop and I have trimmed it (leaving about 1 inch all the way around), I prop it up while i’m working on other things and by doing that i’m getting familiar with the elements on the fabric i’ve chosen.

I did this yesterday and this morning I decided to add the words Magpie Dreams to this hoop. What are Magpies known for their love of? Shiny things! And what do I love to include in my embroidery? Shiny things! Beads, sequins, etc.

If you’ve been following along here, you’ll know that in the past I have raved about my Cricut Maker machine for cutting out words to add to embroidery. So that was my next step.

With Cricut’s Design Space app, I was able to type the words Magpie Dreams, change the font to something more swirly, and curve the words so that would fit along the bottom of the hoop. (That is a new feature and I used it for the first time today!)

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If you are new to Design Space, here are a few things i’ve learned while working with letters:

  • type the full set of words you want to use
  • choose your font
  • if you want to add a curve to the words, do it at this point
  • to make your letters connect, click “Ungroup” and it will make each letter something you can work with individually
  • play with the letters…move them around, make them bigger, smaller, etc.
  • when you like how they look, you will group them together again by clicking on the first letter and the Shift key. While still holding the Shift key, you will click on each letter in your group of words and it will then group everything you have clicked together.
  • I then attach them (the button at the bottom right side)
  • And I learned today how important the Weld button is. When you weld the letters, it groups them all together when cutting and you don’t get little bits of letters cut off.  (I may have had to do this 2 or 3 times before I realized the Weld button was going to save my project and sanity…I promised you messy, right?!)

Here’s what it looks like when I am ready to begin cutting the letters out of felt. I load up the mat with the felt pressed to it and the Maker does the rest!

So from there, I pick the words that have been cut out of the felt and I place them upside down and then spray them with the Dritz Spray Adhesive. I love this product because it lets you adhere something without using an iron and it is removable up until the point that you have stitched it to the fabric!

Also, this was an incredibly messy step. Seriously. Just picture me trying to get a photo of putting the words on the fabric while having felt bits stuck to my fingers because of the adhesive spray. (Notice there is no picture here of that step?!! There is a reason for that!)

So, I dealt with the mess and took a picture of the end result instead!

The words will stand out more once I stitch them, but i’m really liking where this project is headed!

And there you have it! By the time another week rolls around, I will have started to embroider on this piece and I will share with you what I have done.

In the meantime, if you have a piece of fabric you’ve been wanting to try this with, it’s probably time for you to pull it out and get started!


So to recap the steps for beginning your project this week:

  1. Choose your fabric and hoop size.
  2. Pick 5 matching threads.
  3. Become familiar with your fabric.
  4. Choose one area you want to begin stitching.
  5. Gather your embroidery tools: scissors, needles, etc.
  6. Pick one stitch that you want to try and just get started!

 


Note: There are affiliate links included in this post.

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Hope is the thing with feathers

Hope is the thing with feathers
That perches in the soul,
And sings the tune without the words,
And never stops at all – Emily Dickinson

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In my Cricut Maker post from yesterday, I promised to share with you the project that I made with my new machine.

I have to be completely honest and tell you that I wasn’t sure how much I would use my Maker, because I do so much hand embroidery and I very rarely use quilting or sewing patterns.

BUT, I have been completely sold with the one aspect of this machine. Something that I can see myself using over and over again: the  FONTS!  All 370 of them!

Working with fabric and embroidery, I have never found a great way to add fonts into my work. Sure, I’ve done it, but it has never been quite as easy as it was using Design Space and my Cricut Maker.

If you’ve been following along with me for awhile, you’ll know that it’s not a secret that I love to stitch feathers! I also wanted to work on a project that would be simple enough to show you how easy it is to cut fabric and shapes with my Maker, but that you could also envision this stitched up with your favorite fabric combinations!

So here’s what the Design Space app looks like with a work in progress. You’ll see I have my word “hope” next to the feather that I’m also going to be using for the project. I was easily able to find a font that I liked, move and size each letter individually, and then attach them all together so that they would be cut out of one piece of fabric. An alternative to this would be to cut each letter out of a different fabric.

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Remember how I told you yesterday that I would share my behind-the-scenes flubs? Well, this was a major one. When I first started working with the idea of combining a feather and the Emily Dickinson quote from above, I had much smaller font and the letters were going to be cut out of the feather. Great idea, right?! Look how fabulous it would have been!

But, it wasn’t fabulous.

Letters are great for the Maker to cut out of fabric with the rotary blade….when they are big enough. My first try had letters that were less than an 1″. It was a mess. I tried to separate the letters from the feather and made the mess worse. You don’t believe me, do you?

Well, here’s a picture to show just what a mess I made! Yes, it cut the words perfectly, but as I used the weeding tool (an awesome little Cricut tool!) to pull each one off the mat, the delicateness of the letters was not on my side and they shredded into an unusable mess of fabric!

So, I knew that if I wanted the letters to work, they would have to be bigger and bolder. I have no problem adding big and bold to my work, but I needed to re-work the words cut out of the feather idea.

My second try went brilliantly! I cut the word “Hope” out of one fabric, weeded the letters from the fabric and was ready to move onto phase 2 of my project: adding them to the feather that I had already cut out.

This pink mat that you see is the Fabric Mat which is designed to be used with the Maker. The Feather has been cut from the yellow fabric (all of the fabric you see here is by Jennifer Sampou)

And this shot shows the weeding tool I was talking about…it has a sharp edge and helps to pull the fabric pieces gently from the fabric/pattern/mat board. It isn’t strictly designed for fabric and can be super helpful when working with iron-on, vinyl, etc.

So there’s the feather, all cut out and ready to be attached! For both the feather and the words, I used this amazing (no, seriously!) product from Dritz Quilting. It is spray adhesive and can easily be found at your local craft store.

I sprayed the adhesive to the back side of the feather, pressed it into place with my hands on the background fabric and then did the same exact thing with the words. It is not a permanent hold, but rather a temporary one that keeps everything in place until you embroider your pieces to the fabric.

I can’t recommend this product enough!!! It is simple enough to stitch through and does not make your embroidery needles sticky…at all!

Are you ready to finally see my embroidered hoop?

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For this project, I wanted to show how a simple design, cut from the Maker, could be embroidered and embellished and personalized with your choice of fabrics and colors.

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I have been on a Pom Pom making spree and to make the ones that I sewed onto this hoop, I used the Boye Pom Pom Tassel Maker. It is fun to coordinate the colors of your fabric with a yarn and even more fun to use a variegated yarn (like I used in the above picture).

The flowers on the lower corner of the hoop are paper embellishments that I found in the scrapbooking section of my local Michaels. I like to mix and match textures and paper is something you might not think to add to a hoop made with fabric!

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So, a very simple project to make, made even simpler with the Cricut Maker!

If you are looking to replicate this project in Design Space, I used the Feather (#MC88B9C) from the Bohemian Wedding designs and the font is Chloe Whimsy.

You can easily change the size of both the feather and the letters to whatever hoop size you are working with. I used a 12″ hoop for this project.


This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of Cricut. The opinions and text are all mine.

Cricut Maker Review

Back in November, I posted about my first time ever using a cutting machine: the Cricut Maker, and the hoop that I created with it. Since then, I’ve been creating other projects, getting better each time (!) and I wanted to share with you what I like about this machine.

Ok, so the Cricut Maker.

I should tell you that I have never used a cutting machine before I used this one. I thought what they could do was cool, but until now, I didn’t see much of a use for them, because the medium that I work in is fabric and thread and not so much paper and that’s what stopped me from exploring them any further.

However, this machine was designed to use a rotary blade that is meant to work with fabric!

With the addition of a knife blade, you can expand your materials to working with not just fabric, but thicker things like leather, balsa wood, chipboard and mat board. And switching to the fine point blade, you can make regular cuts on materials like as iron-on adhesive and vinyl. I absolutely love the the versatility of this machine!

“What’s that…you need a book-character themed costume for Read Across America week at school tomorrow?! Let me just pull out my iron-on adhesive and whip something up!”  Yes, this was an actual conversation from my house! And, yes, it was amazing to quickly use the Design Space app to make last minute Dog Man and Where’s Waldo themed shirts for my kids!

But back to cutting fabric!

The rotary blade does not require you to have your fabric backed with anything like Heat n’ Bond (although, I used that in my first project and it worked just fine!). The mat designed to be used with fabric is sticky, requiring you to simply press your fabric into place with your hands before inserting it into the machine. From there, the machine knows what to do!

But how does it know what to make? Well, using Cricut’s Design Space app, you can either use one of the hundreds of designs available in the library, or you can create your own image and go from there. Are you are quilter or sewer? Well, Cricut has teamed with both Riley Blake and Simplicity to create patterns that are available for your use as well! I love that you can work with the Design Space app both on a laptop or on your iPad/iPhone.

Since the first project that I created in November, I have used this machine a lot. I’ve played with Cricut’s adhesive vinyl to make fancy labels for my beading supplies, the rolls of iron-on material for shirts and tote bags and my rotary blade has been getting a serious work-out with the fabric i’ve been cutting!

I LOVE working with Cricut’s Iron-on and it’s what saved me on that last minute school project I told you about!!

I’m going to share my latest embroidery project with you tomorrow and don’t worry, i’ll even share my behind-the-scenes mess-ups as i’ve been learning my way around the Maker!

What is sharing without getting some of the the nitty gritty behind-the-scenes details, right?!

In the meantime, check out some of the tools I’ve been working with!

I have yet to use this Washable Fabric Pen, but i’m going to try my hand at using it for an embroidery pattern. I’ll post about it here when I finally get through my stack of WIPs!!!

Don’t forget to pop back tomorrow for my finished project!

This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of Cricut. The opinions and text are all mine.

Improv Fabric Blog Tour

I was so happy to be asked to join this Blog Tour promoting Amy Friend’s FIRST fabric line of modern blenders, Improv! You can read more about it and also a great interview with Amy on the Bernatex blog.

When I first looked at these fabrics and the delicate colors of peach and citron stood out to me. The delicate colors made me think of the wispiness of hydrangeas in a summer garden. Hydrangeas are one of my favorite flowers and were even the base of my wedding bouquet (only the more fall colors of a dried hydrangea…plums, golds, olives)! My husband, an avid gardener, has planted more varieties in our garden than I even realized existed!

With hydrangeas on my mind, I chose to work with several of the white fabrics for the hydrangea flower, with the leaves in Citron and background in Peach, both in the same print.

The citron green of this fabric against the greens of nature feels almost electric, doesn’t it?! That shade is one of my very favorite green colors!

Once I created my pattern, I began to cut out flowers, leaves and a stem from the fabric, as you can see here:

And after appliquéing, embroidering and embellishing, here is my finished project!

This is a large 14″ hoop that I painted a pale grey to match the grey in the white fabrics.

Looking even closer, you can see the various stitches that I used. I also added a smattering of champagne sequins between the hydrangea petals to further emphasize the wispiness of the flower.

And how about one more full view?!

Thanks so much for following along and be sure to check out the other projects from this week!

And don’t forget to leave a comment on my Instagram post for your chance to win a bundle of these fabrics!

Tuesday: Stephanie @Spontaneous Threads
Wednesday: Sharon @ColorGirlQuilts
Thursday: Charise @ChariseCreates
Friday: Nichole @wildboho
Saturday: AnneMarie @GenXQuilters

 

 

 

PinGame and Workshops

How strong is your PinGame?!

Enamel Pins are so much fun to collect and I’m so excited to share the first of my wildboho pins with you! This one is for all of you stitchers out there…especially those of you stitching along with the Boho Stitch Along this year!

Here are a few glamour shots and you can check out the brand new Embroidery Hoop pin in my Etsy shop.


And now for a new Fall Workshop…

Are you going to be in the Lancaster, PA area in November and want to try your hand at Boho Collage and Embroidery?

I’m going to be teaching at The Old Country Store in Intercourse, PA on November 18th . You can view more details and sign up here.


And don’t forget, I’ll be in Shaftsbury, Vermont at the Wing And a Prayer Farm on August 5th. You can view more details for that class here.

So that’s the latest! Have a great weekend and happy stitching!

Red Thread Studio Interview

I’m popping in to let you all know that i’m the Featured Designer at Red Thread Studio this month! You can check out the interview and while you’re there, check out the great selection of embroidery supplies INCLUDING the Cosmo Shabon-Dama thread that some of you were looking for but couldn’t find here in the US! I’m super excited to know that Jen is now carrying that!


One more bit of stitchery (including a coupon!) is this beautiful pair of scissors that I received from Warm Crochet to test out! With the coupon code “wildboho” you can receive 10% off of your own pair.


Shown in the picture is the Red Bronze color, but you can check out the other colors available! These have nice and tiny (and sharp!) tips, which are great for cutting little embroidery threads!

Boho Stitch Along. Week no. 18

Welcome back for Week no. 18! If you are just beginning a piece for the #BohoSAL, check out my previous posts here. And if you are new to embroidery and want to learn the basics, check out my embroidery book, Boho Embroidery for everything you need to get started!


My stitch Along piece this week went from just a simple (very pretty!) piece of fabric to a completely embellished piece of art in the span of just 5 days… much quicker than I normally stitch a project like this!

Here’s how I began, just one week ago:



And here’s the back, or the #hoopguts (!) and I promise I will show you the completed front very, very soon!

The month of May feels like a blur and it hasn’t even started yet, but I have several projects on the horizon that I can’t wait to share with you!

Enjoy these last days of April and Happy Stitching!

Boho Stitch Along. Week no. 14

Welcome back for Week no. 14! If you are just beginning a piece for the #BohoSAL, check out my previous posts here. And if you are new to embroidery and want to learn the basics, check out my embroidery book, Boho Embroidery for everything you need to get started!


Happy April! I think Spring might finally be headed our way!

For my stitch along piece this week, I picked up my Anna Maria Horner “Fibs and Fables” hoop again. I’m thoroughly enjoying the slow pace of stitching this large hoop. I am in no rush to finish, like I am many of my projects, so I can take my time deciding where to go next with the embroidery!

This week I decided to add texture in the form of beads to this tree.

I just love how it turned out and I’m debating on whether I want to add more beads to this hoop or leave this as a stand alone piece of texture. The brilliant thing?? I don’t have to decide right away, do I?!

I hope you are all enjoying the slow pace of stitching your Boho Stitch Along hoop too!


I spent time at Pennington Quilt Works in Pennington, NJ this weekend teaching a Boho Embroidery workshop and had such a nice time with a really fun group of ladies! I love that everyone comes to a workshop with completely different crafting backgrounds: some have never embroidered while others have an embroidery background but dabbled in so many other things that embroidery was pushed out of the way for a while. I really enjoy watching each person form a connection with embroidery.



Have a great week stitching!

-nichole

Boho Stitch Along. Week no. 5

Welcome back for Week no. 5! If you are just beginning a piece for the #BohoSAL, check out my previous posts here. And if you are new to embroidery and want to learn the basics, check out my embroidery book, Boho Embroidery for everything you need to get started!


I think it might be fair to say that I kind of, sort of, okay….maybe a lot, really, really like Alison Glass fabric! It lends itself to the sort of Boho Embroidery that I just love to do. Also, you can’t go wrong with a color palette of fuchsias, plums, mustards, greys, citrons, etc….I could seriously go on and on and fangirl like crazy, but I should stop myself and just let you check out more of her fabric lines (here) at the Andover Fabrics site!

Let’s check out some of the great Alison Glass projects that are being stitched up this week!

@thequiltingcats has started stitching the mountains on this piece of Abacus fabric. I love her green variation and this black and white fabric is just begging to be stitched on, isn’t it?!

Here’s another Abacus fabric being stitched up by @mlourim99. How amazing are the red flowers?! I’m also loving the oranges and blues on the moth…can’t wait to see that one all stitched up!

And one more from the Abacus fabric being stitched up by @nightquilter. I love how each of these projects uses fabric from the same line, and yet they are completely different from one another!

And in case you weren’t sure how much I love Alison Glass fabrics, here are a few projects that I have done in the past using them!!!

I’ll start with a piece that I’m currently working on for the Boho Stitch Along using an orange piece from the brand new Sunprints 2017 collection:






I told you I liked her fabric!!!!

Remember to keep tagging your Boho Stitch Along projects with the #BohoSAL tag so we can see your progress and inspire one another! I’m thinking next week I might feature the projects who are using another of my favorite designers, Anna Maria Horner! So, if you are stitching on an AMH fabric, tag it and I’ll probably feature it here!

And one more thing before I leave you today….

How about this post from @weatherkim who was at a workshop that I taught at Pennington Quilt Works in NJ yesterday. What a fun bunch of ladies and gorgeous projects that are being stitched up! If you are in the area, i’ll be teaching another workshop there in April!!

Have fun stitching this week!